The Calvin cycle is named after Melvin C. Calvin, who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for finding it in 1961. Calvin and his colleagues, Andrew Benson and James Bassham, did the work at the University of California, Berkeley.
Using the radioactive carbon-14 isotope as a tracer, Calvin, Andrew Benson and their team mapped the complete route that carbon travels through a plant during photosynthesis. They traced the carbon-14 from soaking up its atmospheric carbon dioxide to its conversion into carbohydrates and other organic compounds. The single-celled algae Chlorulla was used to trace the carbon-14.
The steps in the cycle are as follows:
3. Leave: A trio of carbons leave and become sugar. The other trio moves on to the next step.
4. Switch: Using ATP and NADPH, the three carbon molecule is changed into a five carbon molecule.
5. The cycle starts over again.
The carbohydrate products of the Calvin cycle are three-carbon sugar phosphate molecules, or 'glucose triose phosphates' (G3P). Each step of the cycle has its own enzyme which speeds up the reaction.
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- Calvin, Melvin 1961. "The path of carbon in photosynthesis" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
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